Teignbridge invites residents' views on draft budget plans
Teignbridge is asking residents for their views on what services should be protected and what should be cut back as it moves forward with its draft budget plans.
People can tell the Council what they think of its vision for the future after the ruling Executive approved its initial financial plans 2013/2014 and 2015/2016 for consultation.
The consultation period will allow people to say whether they think Teignbridge has got its priorities right as the authority prepares to move towards a final budget.
The draft budget proposes to freeze Council Tax for the third year in a row, make its free Sunday parking scheme in its own car parks a permanent feature and continue with housing as one of its top priorities.
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The initial financial proposals approved by the Executive include:
*A continued Council Tax freeze of Teignbridge’s portion of the bill, keeping the average Band D price for district council services at £150.17.
*Supporting housing as top priority while backing business, promoting tourism and bringing power to the people
*Maintaining reserves at £1.1million to cover any unexpected expenditure or reductions in income.
*Retaining the Infrastructure Investment Fund, a pot of money which kick-starts affordable housing projects and jobs.
The draft budget plan contains proposals to increase car parking income by an average of 5%. This means looking at new and inventive ways of how charges are made in car parks, including new permit systems where people can park for free at certain times of the day, and outside the normally busy times.
The proposals could see charges change in certain car parks. Details are still to be finalised and will form part of the public consultation and the final decision making process, but will aim to cover the shortfall in Government funding to keep Teignbridge’s share of Council Tax at its current levels.
Cllr Stuart Barker, Teignbridge Executive Spokesperson for Assets and Resources said: “We are setting a budget which addresses the priorities but maintains a zero rise in our share of the Council Tax, something which provides the greatest benefit for the most number of people in our district.
“We are now asking residents what they think about our financial plan proposals before finalising our budget.
“For this budget, and for the first time in a number of years, we have budgeted for an increase in car parking income of 5%. This still represents good value because we will remain cheaper than other local authorities nearby.
“We are looking at the details around a new permit scheme but what we want to do is encourage people to use car parks at traditionally quieter times, which will encourage trade into our town centres.
“The consultation period will help us make changes or amendments before we propose our final budget. We would encourage people to give any feedback at the earliest opportunity so we can make any necessary amendments or changes.”
In 2011 the Council listened to the people, groups and businesses throughout the district and developed its Council Plan to tackle the challenges that were raised.
Priorities focus on housing and keeping the economy stable through new jobs and business growth. The budget is aimed at reflecting those priorities, making sure the Council remains cost effective and giving residents the best services possible.
The draft budget also details savings already made by the Council and more are planned for years to come.
In 2012 the Council held a series of business challenge reviews which looked at making potential savings, improving productivity and getting services to work jointly in order to save money.
A senior management review is also underway to help reduce overall costs.
Businesses are being advised of the main budget and are invited to make their own comments. Teignbridge is also writing to all parish and town councils for their views.
The consultation starts on Friday January 11. Comments should be made before February 14.
Residents can leave their feedback and make comments online through the Council’s website
The proposals will then move through the Committee system. The final proposals will be made by the Executive on 14 February and will take into account the feedback from the public consultation. The final budget plan will go before Full Council on 22 February for a decision.